INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s own Jeff Gordon is in Central Indiana for a Thursday Night Thunder event at Lucas Oil Raceway. Before the evening’s festivities though, the five-time Brickyard 400 champion was having a blast at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, returning to his racing roots by hoping in a midget car for the first time in decades.
“I’m so glad I didn’t turn this opportunity down,” smiled Gordon. “What a cool track. I’m just beaming. I’m so excited, like a kid going back. It’s been 30 years I think since driving one of these? And I certainly feel 30 years younger today.”
“We love it when our drivers come back, but we love it more when they come back and are having a blast,” added IMS President Doug Boles.
The laps turned were just half the story. Clauson-Marshall Racing provided the equipment for Gordon’s return to midgets. Co-owner of that team is Tim Clauson, the father to Bryan Clauson, who lost his life nearly five years ago in a midget car accident. The upcoming Driven2SaveLives BC39 on the IMS dirt track August 18-19 is named after Bryan.
“The one thing we can do here today is talk about Driven2SaveLives and giving back by being an organ donor,” said Gordon. “I think everybody knows that this event, that Bryan’s still here with us.”
“It’s almost spiritual,” said Tim Clauson, after seeing Gordon turn a few laps on a track that is so directly tied to his son. “When you come in the little gate in the back to the dirt track here, when you know what this place means to everybody in our world, it’s just incredible.”
“This is the type of track and facility that can get people motivated to get into racing and get excited and passionate about racing,” added Gordon.
And also the type of track that can get former USAC National Midget champions back in a midget car for the first time in 30 years.